Women Are Not Roses (1984) is Castillo’s third book of poetry. In it she explores the idea of women who feel disenfranchised in maledominated cultures.
The Mixquiahuala Letters (1986), Castillo’s first novel, earned her an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. As the title indicates, the novel is composed of a series of letters, written in the 1970s and 1980s, between Teresa, a California poet, and Alicia, her college friend who has become an artist in New York City. The correspondence reveals how the roles these women have assumed differ from the traditional roles of Latina women and how the men in Teresa’s and Alicia’s lives—both Anglo and Chicano—resent this difference.
In 1993 Castillo published So Far from God, a novel that garnered more public interest than any of her previous works. Written in the genre of magical realism, the story follows the life of a Latina woman and her four vastly different daughters. This book received the Carl Sandburg Literary Award.
Castillo’s first short-story collection was published as Loverboys (1996). Quirky characters, strong-willed women, and multiple variations of love and friendship fill these stories and reveal Castillo’s talent for inventiveness, humor, and eroticism.
Peel My Love like an Onion (1999) is a novel about a flamenco dancer who overcomes many challenges but is unlucky in love and life. This book exhibits Castillo’s feminism at a new depth.
Gabriel García Márquez is one of the Latin American authors who has influenced Ana Castillo. His book One Hundred Years of Solitude is world renowned and is considered one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century. It was republished in 2003.
MultiAmerica: Essays on Cultural Wars and Cultural Peace (1997), edited by Ishmael Reed, is an anthology that includes essays by Castillo, Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, Frank Chin, Bharati Mukherhjee, Barbara Smith, and Miguel Algarin, among others.
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